DEAR HELOISE: Have you recently received a recorded voice telling you that your new phone is on its way and should be delivered in a few days? The woman goes on to say that if you did not order this item to press 1. If you have any questions or if this is a case of fraud to call 1-800--*. This is a scam. Do not call the phone number and do not press 1.
First of all, there is no phone on its way to your home. This is just a lie to get you to panic and call their "hotline." Once they've captured your phone number and gotten as much personal or financial information as possible, they'll make a mess of your life and possibly drain your bank account.
Stay vigilant and stay away from these scammers.
-- Walter G., Los Angeles
DEAR HELOISE: I love to do cross-stitch and needlepoint pillows. Unfortunately, I also kept losing my needles. I finally found the perfect solution. I now have a plastic case that once held mechanical pencil lead, and that was the ideal size for my needles. Result: no more lost needles and no more finding those needles when someone stepped on them with their bare feet.
-- Susan F., Wheeling, W.Va.
DEAR HELOISE: My husband and I are recently married, and my mother-in-law came over for coffee one day and showed me a neat little trick while I was folding laundry. I now fold the top sheet, the bottom sheet and one pillowcase. Then I stack them up and place all of it in the second pillowcase. This way nothing is lost and everything is together. No more searching for that second pillowcase.
-- Mattie A., Little Rock
DEAR HELOISE: When your doctor tells you it's permissible to shower after you've had surgery, make sure the water isn't too hot. You might want to consider a shower stool to sit down on while you wash. A long-handled back brush is an excellent tool to clean your feet, legs and back. And a grab bar, secured to a two-by-four behind the wall and placed where you can easily reach it, will make showering much safer. Make sure your shower supplies are easy to reach, and a rubber bathmat inside the tub will help reduce your chances of slipping. Take your time, relax and, if possible, have someone nearby who can assist you if needed.
-- Frances K., Newton, Iowa
DEAR HELOISE: So many women like to use cosmetic sponges and makeup brushes, but they don't clean them. These are essential tools for putting on makeup, but they need to be cleaned every week. Makeup brushes can be easily cleaned with a mild dish washing detergent or shampoo. Work the lather through the brush hairs then rinse well, squeeze out the remaining water and allow to air-dry. Makeup sponges can be placed in a bowl of water with a couple drops of shampoo or liquid soap, then microwave for 25 to 30 seconds. Rinse well, squeeze out all the water and allow to air-dry.
-- Taylor H, Springhill, La.
Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email